Sicilian Street Food and Firriato Wine Tasting
Nothing beats authentic food, paired with the right vino
Recently I had the opportunity to partake in an exceptional dining experience that showcased the favorite staples of Sicilian tradition, pairing each dish with a wine that captures the essence of it. The dinner was designed by Bernardo Nolfo, the Sicilian-born owner of Numero 28, a fresh casual eater. Funny thing is, I passed by this restaurant several times and wondered about it, so of course, I was happy to say yes! And I am glad I did :) Thanks to Austin Food Blogger Alliance, that keeps the local food community together and exciting!
The wines were presented by Firriato’s Brand Ambassador Marco Scapagnini, a food & wine journalist and a leading tour designer specialized in Sicily and Southern Italy. We were greeted by him upon entry and then soon, he shared some background on the wines, how they are grown and several interesting facts about the grapes they come from. Our start, is what I fell in love with the most!
Jasmin, from Firriato Wines, light, refreshing, smooth and with just a small amount of tannins that do a white wine like this, full justice. The best part, it has traces of the smell of jasmine - mmm, delicious!
The crostino had a beautiful topping of olives, tomatoes, and veggies - and surprisingly still kept the crispiness of the bread intact. Paired beautifully with Jasmin.
When you eat a good piece of sausage, you just know it. This was lean, packed with flavor and the peppers were great with a good bite of meat. This dish was paired with a more robust Firriato Chiaramonte Nero d’Avola, with its impeccable sharpness that provided an ideal base for the rich flavors of this dish.
Among the two reds, this was my favorite. Very balanced finish, the the lightness of a merlot and a good finish of a cabernet sauvignon.
Next up, Arancina Tradizionale, a symbol of Sicilian street food, unapologetically rich and delicious fried ball of rice and other ingredients, AND, perfectly crispy! That alone can fill me up, though, so I had to slow myself down from finishing it.
And THIS IS THE WHAT I DREAM OF even today - the "eggplant parmigiana" - never had it so so good! Light, not overly fried, little to no breading, unbelievable flavors and just divine. I would go back to Numero 28, just for this dish. And to make things even better, it was paired with Harmonium, apparently one of Firriato’s top sellers: a different interpretation of Nero d’Avola, rich of lively tannins and seducing scents.
I wasn't aware of this, but when this gentleman poured our wine, he had a hand held to his heart - that signifies that he was pouring from this heart. How beautiful is that?!
Last but definitely not the least, we were on to our last dish, the "cannolo" complete this celebration of Sicilian food, paired with Firriato L’Ecru, a flavorful sweet Zibibbo with scents of fine orange blossoms. I am not a dessert wine person, but this bottle made me rethink that ;)
And that sums up a delicious slice of Sicily in the middle of Texas. Thank you to Italy-America Chamber of Commerce of Texas, a non-profit organization with a goal of promoting trade relations between Italy and the United States. This event was in collaboration with IACC, I had a wonderful chat with them during the course of our dining experience.
Some more information about Firriato Wines, as shared by Daniela Puglielli:
Firriato is a family-owned business located in Trapani, with 6 estates throughout the most magical parts of the wine regions in Sicily, including the island of Favignana. Grapes varieties such as Nero d’Avola, Perricone as well as Nerello Mascalese, Zibibbo, Grillo and Catarratto, are all crafted with care by Firriato and sold all over the world, reaching the heart and palates of discerning wine lovers.
They can be purchased through Austin Wine Merchant. www.theaustinwinemerchant.com
I think I am going for some Jasmin and Chiaramonte :)